Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Creating Fictional Characters

“The writer is always working from his own individual world view, whatever the subject, so an honest writer cannot conceal himself in the work no matter how hard he may try to do so.” ~Don Pendleton (1927–1995)

A friend asked me the other day if my new fictional character, Private Investigator, Catherine Winter, from my book, Shattered Lens, was modeled after anyone I know. My answer was, “Not really.”

Catherine Winter is a strong woman, dedicated to her work, trusting of her intuition, and has seen it all...horrific murders, corruption, the corporate evils, the drugs, illicit sex, and downfalls of well-known celebrities and politicians.

She’s in her early sixties, a Southern California Private Investigator who has been in the business for many years, working alongside her husband in their PI Agency. After he passed away seven years ago, she kept the business going and feels she couldn’t give up her investigative work and cannot even conceive of doing anything else.

She has said, “As long as arthritis doesn’t lock up my joints or cataracts don’t keep my eyes from hitting the bulls-eye with a .357 slug then my shingle will stay on my door—C. Winter, Private Investigator.”

She also said this: “In this business you try your best to harden yourself to looking death straight in the eye but every time you are forced to face it you realize how damn vulnerable each of us are.”

I like the fictional characters I put in my novels...even the bad guys I create. I am now writing a second Catherine Winter novel, and I never know what characters will pop in and want a role in the story.

My friend is the second person who has asked me recently about the characters in my books. The other friend asked if he was in my book, Shattered Lens. I laughed and told him he was not. He wondered if I put people I knew in my stories. Again I said, “Not really.”

But the real answer is the character or characters I create within my own mind and who find their way onto the pages of my books, may be nothing more than a spark of creation from my own view of life, or from pieces of others who may have come in and out of my life, whether it be in a passing glance, a momentary speck of passion, an irritation, a voice, a song, a smile, a frown, or even a word.

I also asked my male friend what he would like to be in my book--what kind of character? I failed to tell him I could envision him as a romantic lead, a hero, or a knight in shining armor astride a white stallion, galloping off into the sunset with the woman he has rescued.

But if he actually ends up in any of my books, he won’t recognize himself, that is, unless he notices the male character with a small dimple when he smiles, or a guy with a bit of a tease in his voice, or the tall, good looking man who wins the heart of the little kid, or the heart of a mistreated puppy.

But heck, if I gave him a bigger role than that it will ruin the mystery of it all. Won’t it?



Radha said...

Dearest Linda!!
I love your blog how sweet and I'm speachless!
I have loved quotes, and I did promote your blog on my blog!!!

Radha said...

Linda I love your blog!

Linda Pendleton said...


Thanks for your comments and the link to my site with the quotes you posted.

Please visit again.